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Doctor No (James Bond Novels) Paperback – August 27, 2002

214 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The allure of James Bond was best described by Raymond Chandler, who insisted that 007 is "what every man would like to be and what every woman would like to have between her sheets." Who can argue with that? This month marks the 40th anniversary of the film release of Dr. No, which was the first Bond adventure to make the big screen, and two big coffee-table books are being published to honor the occasion (LJ 10/1/02, p. 96). Shockingly, Fleming's original novels have gone out of print, but Penguin here reproduces a trio of the British secret agent's early outings, released in 1952, 1958, and 1959, respectively, sporting stylish cover art. These stories were racy for the nifty Fifties but are quite tame by today's standards. Still, they can be fun.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Raw brilliance" Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: James Bond Novels
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142002038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142002032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Fleming was born in London on May 28, 1908. He was educated at Eton College and later spent a formative period studying languages in Europe. His first job was with Reuters News Agency where a Moscow posting gave him firsthand experience with what would become his literary bete noire--the Soviet Union. During World War II he served as Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence and played a key role in Allied espionage operations.

After the war he worked as foreign manager of the Sunday Times, a job that allowed him to spend two months each year in Jamaica. Here, in 1952, at his home "Goldeneye," he wrote a book called Casino Royale--and James Bond was born. The first print run sold out within a month. For the next twelve years Fleming produced a novel a year featuring Special Agent 007, the most famous spy of the century. His travels, interests, and wartime experience lent authority to everything he wrote. Raymond Chandler described him as "the most forceful and driving writer of thrillers in England." Sales soared when President Kennedy named the fifth title, From Russia With Love, one of his favorite books. The Bond novels have sold more than one hundred million copies worldwide, boosted by the hugely successful film franchise that began in 1962 with the release of Dr. No.

He married Anne Rothermere in 1952. His story about a magical car, written in 1961 for their only son Caspar, went on to become the well-loved novel and film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Fleming died of heart failure on August 12, 1964, at the age of fifty-six.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Most of us have seen a James Bond movie at one time or another and enjoyed the outlandish antics in which he participates. However, upon getting my hands on this edition and finishing it in a matter of hours, the movies suddenly hold no appeal. I love the literary Bond! Sure, he's a lecherous alcoholic who smokes 60 cigarettes a day, but that's only during his downtime; when he's on the job, women and booze are secondary. And sure, it's vastly outdated, but the Cold War is still, by far, the best setting for an espionage thriller. The Bond in the novels is a cold cutomer who wouldn't hesitate to kill someone close to him to spare them a worse death (as in the latter part of Live And Let Die). Also, the literary Bond's body is a patchwork of scar tissue, and his handsome features are marred only by a scar on his right cheek.
That said, Fleming's style is great--short and to the point, much the same as his days writing reports during WWII during his stint in the military. His prose isnn't flowery, and it advances the story at a brisk pace.
Dr. No is an excellent turning point for both Fleming and Bond. Fleming killed Bond at the end of From Russia With Love (one report being that he'd tired of the character, but fans clammored for Bond's revival). The events of the previous novel are touched-on briefly in the beginning of the book, but they don't have much bearing on the rest of the story. However, the return of Quarrel (from Live And Let Die) and his loss greatly affects Bond, bringing a depth of character rarely explored by the celluloid Bonds.
Dr. No is a great read of the genre of its time, featuring a dashing secret agent hero, a capable sidekick, a beautiful seashell-hunting love interest, 5-inch tropical poisonous centipedes, flamethrowing dragons, sadistic henchmen, a giant squid (not in the movie!), and of course, Dr. No, the pincer-handed, ultra-rich, ultra-evil, guano-dealing nemesis! Who could ask for anything more?!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W. Hearst3 on February 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The basic frame of all the James Bond books and movies. It was the book chosen by the owners of the film rights to introduce the character to the screen - and they kept rather close to the essentials ... the tough but sophisticated Bond, the alluring female lead who becomes his companion and usually savior, the gruff but proud M and so on. Probably the best example of the movie being as good as the book - certainly not true of the later cartoonish movies which are seldom as good as the original Fleming stories.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gobirds2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is my favorite James Bond novel. Ian Fleming created a character with a gargantuan appetite for the more worldly pleasures. For a land that could supply our hero with such an appetite Fleming chose his own beloved Jamaica. The melding of the story with the setting is Fleming at his best. Jamaica was a land of beauty, mystery and intrigue. Fleming captured this so well and gave us a remarkable villain to reflect that esoteric quality of the island.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J R Zullo on April 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
As most teenagers, I had my "Bond movies phase", renting and watching every movie from Sean Connery through Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and now Brosnan. Even so, I had never read one of Ian Fleming's books, prejudicialy dismissing them as childish and poorly written. After ten years, I found "Doctor No" in a used-books store, and since I made the mistake of thinking this was, like in the movies, the first book of the series, I bought it.
In "Doctor No", James Bond, after a bad mission and spending some time in a hospital, is given a kind of "vacation mission" in Jamaica. He has to discover what happened to the local stationed british secret agent, who is reported missing. When Bond gets there, he is driven towards Crab Key, a misterious island owned by Julius No, a tall, bald maniac for privacy and who is hiding things from jamaican administration.
To my surprise (and showing I was wrong in my prejudices), Fleming is a good writer who can hold the reader's attention at most times. It's just a pity that I didn't begin the series with the first book, "Casino Royale", to see how Fleming developed his writing style, characters and plots while writing the books.
Other surprise was to compare Bond in the books with Bond in the movies. Bond in the books was more human and credible, even to the point of throwing up after moments of extreme tension. Other characters are interesting as well, like nature girl Honey Rider and Bond's friend Quarrell. I also liked to meet again characters like M and Q. Doctor No, though, as everything related to Crab Key island, is a little too fantastic for my taste, but, from the information I gathered, "Doctor No" is Fleming's most "exotic" and implausible book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
The name of the villain is common word now, and the character itself is legend. Doctor Julius No is a madman with touches of genius, an agent of evil so dangerous to the U.S. rocket programme and the world itself that Bond becomes a giant-size hero just by fighting him. The plot is excellent, but the scenery may be just "too Caribbean" (all those swamps and mosquitoes and bright dry sun) for some readers, not as well handed as in "Live and Let Die" (or perhaps TOO well handed). Strangways is killed and Bond is sent on "vacation" to investigate. Curiously, he has been ill from his previous mission and a "Doctor" seems appropiate, but not the one he's about to encounter. Quarrel, a character introduced in another book, dies and left us missing him. The villain's island has everything a fantastic classic enemy's place needs, including a giant squid for good. The heroine is one of the best in the series. Doctor No's death is shocking and much better than in the film. Finally, that thing with a dragon marauding in the island is masterfully treated with terrific results, keeping suspense up all time. Bond has come of age at this stage.
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